TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Trade
Justin Meram is on the move again, as Atlanta United have acquired the winger from Columbus Crew SC in exchange for $100,000 in General Allocation Money and Atlanta's natural second round selection in the 2020 SuperDraft, the clubs announced Tuesday.
Meram, 30, has yet to contribute a goal or assist for the Crew in nine appearances (four starts) this season. In 2018, he had two goals and four assists across 26 appearances for Orlando City and Columbus.
“Justin is a proven commodity in MLS and we’re pleased to welcome him to Atlanta,” said VP and technical director Carlos Bocanegra in a statement. “During his time in Columbus, Justin established himself as one of the better attacking players in the league and we expect him to come in and compete immediately.”
It's the third time in little more than a year that Meram has been deal. First, he was sent to Orlando City SC from the Crew ahead of last season before being shipped back to Columbus at the end of July. After a career year in 2017 — when he scored 13 goals — Meram has just two goals in 2,246 minutes over the past two seasons. The 30-year-old has 39 goals and 37 assists in 223 MLS appearances in his career.
Meram has earned 31 caps with the Iraq National Team, making his debut in the 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations’ opening match against Kuwait on November 14. The midfielder scored his first goal with the Lions of Mesopotamia during a 5-1 home victory over Chinese Taipei in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier on September 3, 2015, converting a penalty kick in the first minute of second half stoppage time.
“Throughout the year, we are regularly assessing our roster and looking to explore ways to strengthen our team, and this transaction allows for both salary budget space and roster slot availability in the secondary transfer window,” said Crew SC president Tim Bezbatchenko. “We want to thank Justin for his contributions to Columbus Crew SC during his time with the Club and we wish him the best moving forward.”
With Ezequiel Barco departing for U-20 World Cup duty with Argentina, Meram gives head coach Frank de Boer another option in attack, alongside likely starters Pity Martinez, Tito Villalba and Josef Martinez.